Congress Urged To Focus On Asia-Pacific Travel And Entry Issues At
By Jim Douglas
May 9, 2012 - Travel from the Asia-Pacific region to the
U.S. is critical to the economy, and U.S. policy should
ensure future growth, U.S. Travel Association President
and CEO Roger Dow asserted in testimony before Congress
Dow appeared in a hearing titled "Building Secure
Partnerships in Travel, Commerce and Trade with the
Asia-Pacific Region" before the House Committee on
Homeland Security's Subcommittee on Transportation
"Nearly a quarter of the increase in travel exports over the past two years has come from four countries in the Asia-Pacific region: Australia, China, Japan and South Korea," said Dow.
"Collectively, the spending by these four countries in
2011 supported 233,000 U.S. jobs, 14,200 more than were
supported in 2010."
Today, some international airports report that passengers
arriving from long flights - some from the Asia-Pacific region -
experience delays of up to three hours at U.S. customs
Dow's testimony suggested a multi-prong approach, which should
establishing a passenger wait time goal of 20 minutes per
individual at international airports, finding a sensible funding
solution to hire enough CBP officers to meet the 20-minute
processing goal, setting metrics to measure the customer service
performance of CBP officers at airports, fully implement the
Global Entry trusted traveler agreement with South Korea within
the next few months, and expeditiously negotiating Global Entry
agreements with Australia, Japan and Singapore.
"The United States must be able to process visitors securely and
efficiently through its airports," said Dow. "Doing so will
bring significant economic benefit to destinations throughout
The U.S. share of global international long-haul travel fell from 17 percent in 2000 to just 12.4 percent in 2010 despite a 40 percent growth in overall global travel. So while global international travel boomed over the last decade, America failed to keep pace.
Because total international tourist arrivals are projected to grow
another 36 percent between 2010 and 2020 on a worldwide basis, the U.S.
has a chance to regain its lost market share and attract billions in new
travel exports. Outbound long-haul travel from Australia, China, Japan
and South Korea is expected to increase by 24 million over the next five
Every dollar these visitors spend in the U.S. counts as an export just
like agricultural crops, minerals or manufactured goods. In 2011, travel
exports rose to a record $153 billion, larger than exports of other
service industries as well as major manufacturing industries such as
machinery, computers and electronic products, and aircraft.
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